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Diabetes can lead to heart disease

July 28, 2003|by Christine L. Moats

Unchecked diabetes may lead to coronary heart disease and stroke, but it can be modified, treated or controlled with care.

Diabetes greatly increases the risk of getting heart disease. The disease can affect cholesterol and triglyceride levels, increasing the likelihood of high blood pressure. An estimated 382,000 people in Maryland have diabetes, and only half of these people have been diagnosed. According to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, an additional 1.3 million Marylanders are at risk of developing diabetes depending on age, weight and daily activity.

The most common form of diabetes is Type 2, a progressive disease that develops when the body does not produce enough insulin and does not efficiently use the insulin it does produce. Some of the symptoms associated with diabetes are frequent urination and thirst, blurred vision, weight loss, increased hunger, fatigue, skin infections and wounds that don't heal easily.

If you have diabetes, it is vital to work with your doctor to keep the disease under control. Check your blood sugar as recommended, eat a healthy diet, take medications as prescribed, and check your feet daily. Your doctor also may recommend an annual eye and foot exam, and regular blood pressure and cholesterol checks.

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- Sources:

www.americanheart.org and www.dhmh.state.md.us




Christine L. Moats is a wellness coordinator at Washington County Hospital.

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